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Davy Tweed, former Irish international, dies in road accident

  • 29-10-2021 3:36pm
    Registered Users Posts: 5,301 ✭✭✭

    The Irish Times is reporting that Davy Tweed who played for Ballymena, Ulster and Ireland as a lock in the 1990s, has died following a motorcycle accident in Antrim.

    Tweed had to wait until he was 35 years old to earn his first cap. He is believed to have been the oldest ever debutant in the Irish team. He was a tough man mountain of an Ulster forward, once described by Neil Francis as one of the few genuinely hard men he had encountered in Irish rugby. Newspaper articles preferred the euphemism "uncompromising".

    He was tried several times for underage sex offences, cleared on a couple of occasions before finally being convicted and jailed. However, that conviction was later quashed and he was not retried, having already spent some time in prison.

    His political affiliations showed what a remarkable institution the Irish Rugby team continues to be; he was a hard-headed Ulster Orangeman who represented Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party in Ballymena Council before defecting to the even more hardline Traditional Unionist Voice. He was also prominent some years ago in demonstrations in Ballymena that sought to prevent members of the Catholic minority in the town from attending Sunday Mass, as part of a protest against the Parades Commission's rulings preventing Orange Order marches from parading through Catholic areas where they were decidedly unwelcome.

    None of which prevented him lining out in green under the tricolour, standing up for Amhrán na bhFiann (at least in Dublin) and playing his heart out for the Irish cause. Truly there are strange bedfellows in an Irish pack!

    A complex character indeed.